Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

Image. Advertisement:

Texas bans 15,000 books from state prisons

In the US, the banning of Dan Carter’s Wolf Boys (A&U) in Texas prisons has highlighted the state’s aggressive stance on banning books, reports the Guardian.  Carter’s nonfiction book about Texas teenagers who become involved in a Mexican drug cartel was banned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) Directors Review Committee, and is one of 15,000 titles banned from the Texas prison system. TCDJ spokesperson Jason Clarke told the Guardian the book was banned for two sentences that contain ‘information on how to conceal and smuggle illegal narcotics’. Paul Wright, executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center, says the 15,000 list is ‘growing exponentially’ and that ‘once a book goes on it never comes off’. Wright explains that most books are typically banned by ‘anonymous mailroom clerks’, and the ‘bureaucratic system rubber stamps it from there’. Texas also maintains a comprehensive state-wide database of all banned books, which makes it one of ‘the most systematic and organized in their censorship’, says Wright. As reported by Quartz, Texas’ banned book list includes Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (Phoenix), Dante Aligheri’s Inferno and Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex (Fourth Estate) according to a 2011 report by legal advocacy group Texas Civil Rights Project, which surveyed the 11,851 banned titles listed by the TCDJ in 2008. The TCDJ Wolf Boys verdict coincides with the American Library Associations annual Banned Books Week, which ‘highlights the value of free and open access to information’, and runs from 25 September to 1 October.


Category: International news